Arizona Fire and Medical Authority

Arizona Fire & Medical Authority Fire Corps members LouAnn Sedgwick (left) and Colleen Mitchell (right) are just waiting to return to “active duty” in Sun Lakes, as AFMA medics do battle with COVID-19. (Photo by Brian Curry)

Arizona Fire & Medical Authority Fire Corps members LouAnn Sedgwick (left) and Colleen Mitchell (right) are just waiting to return to “active duty” in Sun Lakes, as AFMA medics do battle with COVID-19. (Photo by Brian Curry)

AFMA Fire Corps ‘Standing By’

Brian Curry

It’s been just over a year since the volunteers of the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) Fire Corps were told to temporarily cease their operations as the AFMA paramedics, EMT’s, and firefighters began to do battle with the new, deadly, COVID-19 virus.

With this virus that does not differentiate between professional emergency service providers and the men and women of the Sun Lakes community who provide important auxiliary and support services to the authority, no chances could be taken, and the order was given for Fire Corps to “stand by.”

“It is bad enough that we have our AFMA personnel in harm’s way every day dealing with COVID, but to expose and put our volunteers at risk with the virus was a chance we were not willing to take,” said Deputy Chief Eric Kriwer.

Fire Corps is primarily known for its men and women in their royal blue uniform shirts responding as the Community Assistance Program on fire and medical calls, but they also handle a variety of other tasks under the guidance of AFMA officers. Assistant Fire Marshal John Teixeira, who oversees Fire Corps, explained, “AFMA realized that, with the specific demographics of Sun Lakes, we need to stay active in community education and assistance. Fire Corps does that, and not having them does put a crimp in our outreach.”

In addition to the CAP program, Fire Corps has three volunteer Arizona State-certified fire inspectors and teaches classes in CCR (Cardio Cerebral Resuscitation) and the use of AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators).

Fire Safety is also addressed with fire extinguisher training. This “hands on” training covers everything, from the different types available to the proper way to use them. In the same category is the Fire Corps “Home Safety” program which, upon invitation, will do an assessment walk-through of your home and make recommendations based upon those findings. Fire Corps member and CAP Life Member Brian Curry is the volunteer public information officer of Sun Lakes, under Chief Kriwer’s direction. “All the Sun Lakes volunteers have been great, and we miss them,” added Kriwer.

Longtime Fire Corps member Nancy Roberts put it more simply, “I just miss working the shifts, the camaraderie of the crews, and helping my community. I totally understand why we had to be put on hold, but I just want to help my fellow neighbors here in Sun Lakes.”

As of today, a return date for the volunteer Fire Corps has not been decided, but if you are interested, contact them at [email protected]

AFMA Is Awarded International Reaccreditation Status

Brian Curry

The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) in Maricopa County, Ariz., has received Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) for meeting the criteria established through the CFAI’s voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. AFMA is one of more than 250 agencies to achieve Internationally Accredited Agency status with the CFAI and the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc. (CPSE).

CFAI is dedicated to assisting the fire and emergency service agencies throughout the world in achieving excellence through self-assessment and accreditation in order to provide continuous quality improvement and the enhancement of service delivery to their communities. The CFAI process is voluntary and provides an agency with an improvement model to assess their service delivery and performance internally, and then works with a team of peers from other agencies to evaluate their completed self-assessment.

Division Chief Kane Nixon stated that the agency’s achievement of Accredited Agency status “demonstrates the commitment of the agency to provide the highest quality of service to our community.” AFMA Accreditation Manager Shawn Holcomb also said, “We have also been able to use the Commission on Fire Accreditation International’s process as a proactive mechanism to plan for the future of AFMA and locate areas where we can improve on the quality of the services we provide.” Manager Holcomb states, “We are proud to be part of the Accredited Agency family. It has been an amazing process for our staff and members.”

Division Chief Nixon concludes, “AFMA was granted accredited status for the third time by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). Only 284 agencies in the world hold accredited status, and of those, only 102 have an ISO Class 1 rating. The accreditation process involves a thorough assessment of the Authority’s response metrics, leadership, community relationships, education, and training. We are so proud of the men and women of AFMA; it is because of their outstanding work each day that makes this organization one of the best.”

Public Education Training via Zoom

John A. Teixeira, Jr., Asst. Fire Marshal

You are invited to a Zoom webinar hosted by the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority on March 15, 2021, at 9 a.m. (Arizona time). The topic will be Emergency Preparedness.

Register in advance for this webinar at www.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MG85Va7qTGCoWgOcJqCr0g.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For additional information or questions, please call 623-215-1072. There is no charge for the class.